Since I’ve become involved in bitcoin, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about it and altcoins – and I’ve have seen a number of friends and family take action. There seems to be somewhat of a progression as to the way people view bitcoin, and the questions they ask as they learn more about it. So I thought I’d outline my observations and answer some “altcoin” questions.
- You mean there’s a limit to the supply, and I gain control over my own money? How can I buy some bitcoin?
- Wow – setting up a wallet is a pain! But okay, I’ve done that…now what?
- Do I have to buy a whole bitcoin? What if I don’t have $2000+ right now?
- Great! I’ve now bought a little Bitcoin – but what are all these other altcoins?
- Should I should buy some of these altcoins, like Ether or Ripple?
- What’s the purpose of these other coins? How do I choose which one to buy?
- Should I buy the most popular ones? Or the ones going up in price?
- Is there a benefit to buying some of these altcoins that are only pennies?
Yes, there is a limit to the supply and the demand is going up. Yes, you gain control over your money – but first you have to setup an online wallet. Setting up a wallet takes a bit of time, but once it’s done you’re all set to buy or sell digital currency. Unfortunately, there isn’t one wallet that allows you to buy bitcoin plus all the altcoins out there – but some do offer more options.
You do NOT have to buy a whole bitcoin. Because it is digital, you can buy a fraction of one bitcoin – same with the altcoins. Only buy what you’re willing to risk, as the price changes frequently and nobody knows if it will continue to go up, or if it will decrease overnight. Once you’ve bought some bitcoin, if you want to get into trading, you can checkout the Trade Coin Club and see if investing to take advantage of the daily compounding of earnings is a good fit for you.
Altcoins are just alternative cryptocurrency to the Bitcoin, and they vary a lot in the way they are developed, mined, marketed, etc. Anyone can make their own coin. The code is open source (free) and if you can understand the source code – you can create a new coin. However, making a new coin with a new purpose takes a lot of development work. The majority of altcoins are “forks” of Bitcoin with small, and often uninteresting, changes. But there are some which have new innovations and are worth a look.
Some people buy altcoins as a way to hedge against Bitcoin. Reasons vary, but for example, if Bitcoin had some catastrophic failing (not likely, but it could happen) – certain altcoins may not also be susceptible. Also, certain altcoins have a purpose that is significantly better or different than Bitcoin – so they may have a good future. And last but not least, there is always going to be room for niche altcoins that may be specific to a certain industry or purpose.
Altcoins have to compete with Bitcoin – not the other way around. Bitcoin has a proven use case as a store of value, with a huge lead over every altcoin out there since it has existed for 8+ years without failure. Bitcoin’s security has been proven far more than newer counterparts with usage by almost every metric. It is also far more accessible, can be bought and sold on most exchanges, is supported by more hardware and software, and it is far more liquid than any other altcoin. With the largest developer ecosystem, more software and more implementations, Bitcoin has more entrepreneurs orbiting to create new companies than any other altcoin – at least for the time being. So altcoins face stiff competition – Bitcoin does not.
This is not to say that buying certain altcoins is not a good idea – but buying them just to buy them isn’t a good idea at all. At least learn the purpose of the altcoin before buying it. Altcoins are not really a great hedge against Bitcoin. As it evolves, Bitcoin will grow in unexpected ways when new use is discovered, thus increasing its usefulness over time. Whereas altcoin owners have more risk that the coin will fall into disuse and be, well…useless.
While there are tons of altcoins – I am only providing explanation of the ones I have investigated and personally invested in.
Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.
Ether is a necessary element — a fuel — for operating the platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of the platform to the machines executing the requested operations. To put it another way, ether is the incentive ensuring that developers write quality applications (wasteful code costs more), and that the network remains viable (compensation for contributed resources).
Apps on Ethereum run on a custom built blockchain – an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around and represent the ownership of property. This enables developers to create markets, store registries of debts or promises, move funds in accordance with instructions given long in the past (like a will or a futures contract) and many other things that have not been invented yet, all without a middle man or counter-party risk.
The Ripple project is actually older than Bitcoin itself, created by Ryan Fugger in 2004. Originally, the intent was to create a monetary system that was decentralized and could effectively empower individuals and communities to create their own money. All money in Ripple is explicitly represented as debt, with transactions simply consisting of balances being shifted on a series of imaginary credit lines from the payer to the receiver.
On some level, this is very similar to the way the banking system works today. International wire transfers to and from countries around the world are gathered together by banks, transfers between banks are canceled out as much as possible, and at the end of the day, if one bank gives out more money than it takes in, the banks sort things out through various systems specifically designed for the purpose.
At the end of the day, physical transfers haven’t actually occurred – rather one agent owes another agent money. Settling those “debts” occurs later, or there may be reverse transactions if other bank customers move money in the opposite direction. Therefore, there are three trust relationships at play: 1. customer sending money trusts the agent will process the transfer; 2. customer receiving money trusts their agent processes the transfer so they receive the money; and 3. both agents trust each other regarding payment of the debt or IOU.
The original version of Ripple faced some major issues that the new version seeks to solve. Ripple proposes to have websites or stores that perform the function of agents, and instead of agents communicating directly with each other, IOUs can be communicated electronically. So, Bob logs into his Ripple gateway, deposits money into it, instructs release of those funds to Pam via her gateway, Pam collects her funds. As long as the gateways are prepared to accept and hand out “goods” – anything can be transferred, not just money. Also, if either gateway is prepared to exchange cash with perhaps gold, flowers, beer – whatever – then Bob can put cash in his gateway, and Pam can get flowers out at her gateway.
So long as there are intermediary gateways who can form a chain of trust for the object being passed (cash, or gold, or whatever), the transaction will work. If the network cannot find any “chain of trust” between two gateways, this is where “ripples” (XRP) come in. All gateways provide a price in XRP of anything they deal in. This means that in the Ripple network, anything can be converted into a number of XRPs, the XRPs can be transferred via the trust changes, then converted back at the end gateway, as or if needed. This is what is referred to as a “bridge currency”, and there are additional benefits.
XRP as a currency settles immediately – so when sent on the Ripple network, ownership of the actual asset changes, making it final and trustless vs. IOUs in a traditional system which, even though transferred instantly, still must bee redeemed or settled by a gateway. This means you do not need to “trust” a gateway to fulfill its obligations. Additionally, transfers of XRPs over Ripple incur fewer and cheaper transaction fees – with no intermediaries needed.
In traditional systems, the IOUs are kept updated by each individual agent and periodically reconciled within their network of trust. In Ripple, a public ledger of accounts, balances, and IOUs are kept updated by everyone simultaneously in the Ripple network and distributed on servers around the world. The servers agree on changes by consensus, with no central authority who says “yes or no” to transactions.
Transactions based on cryptography on a distributed network with public ledgers is faster, cheaper, lower risk, and much more – better in nearly every possible way than a centralized pre-Internet bank messaging network like SWIFT — that many financial institutions currently operate on.
Litecoin was created by Charles Lee, former Google employee, by taking the idea behind Bitcoin but significantly changing the block time and mining algorithm. While these differences may seem inconsequential to a person not involved in the digital currency community, they are actually very important. Litecoin was intended to be an alternative to Bitcoin, and expected to be the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. Thus far, this seems quite accurate. Litecoin has a cap on total coins that is around 4 times Bitcoin, and has occupied a price point that is similar to silver vs gold for the recent past.
The Litecoin blockchain is capable of handling higher transaction volume than its counterpart – Bitcoin. Due to more frequent block generation, the network supports more transactions without a need to modify the software in the future. As a result, merchants get faster confirmation times, while still having ability to wait for more confirmations when selling bigger ticket items.
Bitqy runs on the Ethereum blockchain and allows customers and businesses to offer their voice in the running of the bitqyck platform. As of May 26, 2017 – bitqy has a value of 02 cents each. The more bitqy you hold, the more Bitqyck ownership you can hold.
Bitqyck is the name of the company, and it is a digital marketplace, e-commerce daily deals site (like Groupon, Living social, Priceline.com, etc.). The platform will potentially load thousands of merchants or business owners to utilize the Digital Market Place to offer products and services from spas, restaurants, hotels and almost everything! A platform on which to buy and sell goods at low prices. Individuals and businesses who utilize the marketing system will be rewarded with bitqy curency, and the more bitqy you have, the more ownership of bitqyck you can hold.